There is a simple fix to this V.I. Carnival impasse. The V.I. government should immediately suspend all allocations to the Carnival Committee until a full disclosure is made of all expenditures of the public's funds.
It is neither unreasonable nor unconscionable for the government to demand full disclosure, to include an audit of the Carnival Committee's books. The Carnival Committee is not above the law. Once public funds are being used, the public expects, upon request, full disclosure of all expenditures.
While it is true that the Carnival Committee is a private non-profit corporation, and not a government department, agency, commission, instrumentality, or bureau, the least it could do is be "above board," belay the public fears, and show that there is nothing to hide.
A detailed financial statement can say just about anything mathematically; therefore, it means nothing in the absence of a complete audit. Conversely, no one likes to be audited; however, that's the simple consequence of accountability for over $1.2 million of the public's money.
I do not believe the government gave the Carnival Committee a gift to spend however it deemed fit, no strings attached, no questions asked. I am not aware of any non-profit corporation that receives public funds then refuses to allow full audit of its finances. A bad precedent is being set here.
So, for the long-term health of the Carnival Committee and to restore the public trust and the confidence of countless volunteers and the local businesses that have over the years contributed hundreds of millions of hours in volunteerism and millions of dollars in prizes, the Carnival Committee leadership needs to come clean and cast aside the dark cloud that is over the corporation.
One word of caution: "Don't let it rain on your parade."
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